Tapas on the Bay
Tapas are snacks, canapés or finger food that originated in Spain. They come in many different forms and can vary from town to town! But, what exactly are they? Well, some say that in the 13th century King Alfonso X of Castile, also known as “the Wise One,” made sure that Castilian taverns served wine accompanied by something to eat, so that the wine would not go straight to the clients' heads. Others claim that while on a long trip, King Alfonso stopped to rest in a town in the southern province of Cádiz, and he ordered a glass of jerez or sherry. There was a gusty wind, so the innkeeper covered his glass with a slice of ham to prevent the sherry from getting dirty. King Alfonso apparently liked it, and when he asked for a second glass, he requested another tapa or “cover” just like the first.
Whatever the true origin of tapas, the world’s favourite “little bites” can be found in Saint Lucia these days, on a breezy waterfront deck on the lagoon at Rodney Bay, right next door to the world-class Big Chef Steakhouse, which is the “sister” restaurant of Tapas on the Bay.
The tapas line-up includes traditional favourites like Chorizo in Red Wine, Tortilla with Potato & Onion and Patatas Bravas but Chef Olivier Hilton also brings a creative twist to the menu with Lucian-style tapas and seasonal specials which incorporate island-flavours and surprising treats. Owners Rosie and Marc Joinville brought their vision of “little dishes from around the world” to the Rodney Bay dining scene in 2012, and along with Chef Olivier, they’ve kept the menu authentic at its core but added uniquely Caribbean surprises so ‘bastonetes’ of fresh fish and calamari rings are dipped in a crispy Piton beer batter, salt cod fritters are a version of the local accras and even jerk chicken wings make a welcome appearance every now and then.
The beauty of Tapas on the Bay is that there really is something on the menu for everyone, from aficionados and lovers of the Spanish original to newbies and the adventurous who want to try a unique reinvention of the classic. Traditional paella is cooked to order, full of seafood, chicken wings and pork ribs, served in a miniature paellera, and there is also a good selection of entrees for those who prefer a traditional meal over tapas. TT favourites are the Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Flatbread–absolutely divine as a shared starter or for nibbling with a pitcher of sangria; the Roasted Beets are perfect with their blue cheese dressing and the enormous Nicoise Salad with sashimi grade tuna coated in sesame seeds is an angelic but wickedly good main course.
Tapas on the Bay also has fresh home-baked bread, just right for dipping into the sauces and dressings (and wiping the little dishes clean!). The winelist has very good Spanish reds, whites and sherries, with a blackboard of specials and bin-ends, while the cocktail menu is just the job for a few sundowners accompanied by some marinated olives or tasty ham croquettes. Groups and parties should try the Pitchers & Platters - a range of tapas selections to share, washed down with jugs of killer cocktails like the signature Sangria Perfecta, Rum Zinger and Ginger Mojito.
The waterfront location is tucked away from the main road, but right in the heart of the Rodney Bay Village, just a few seconds walk from the shopping malls. Tapas on the Bay’s secluded garden entrance leads to a wonderful breezy deck overlooking the bobbing boats in the lagoon and the convenient dinghy dock, covered to protect diners from the elements. It’s well worth a visit during the day too, when the menu is from Lil’ Chef – see Newsbites for more.
Located off Reduit Drive adjacent to Big Chef Steakhouse. Tapas On The Bay is open for Breakfast and Lunch (limited tapas) from 8am every day except Monday: Dinner is from 5pm every day except Sunday. www.tapasonthebay.com, find us on Facebook and Tripadvisor. Call 485 7189 for more reservations at Tapas on the Bay.